Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1857.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), taken by Robert Howlett (1831-1858) in November 1857 and published by the London Stereoscopic Company as a carte-de-visite in about 1860. Brunel was one of the foremost engineers of the nineteenth century. As well as shipbuilding, he was responsible for many civil engineering projects including docks, railways and bridges. Here he is photographed in front of the launching chains of his mammoth steamship the 'Great Eastern'. Robert Howlett worked in partnership with Joseph Cundall (1818-1875). He is best known for his series of photographs of the construction and launching of Brunel's ship Great Eastern", and particularly for his portraits of Brunel. His early death, aged just twenty-seven, was posibly due to prolonged exposure to hazardous photographic chemicals.